Friday, March 26, 2010

The Heart Remembers

I have a favor to ask.

While I'm not a huge jewelry person in general, I do really like my James Avery store and catalogs. I realize that only a few states have these stores, and I'm pretty fond of mine. For a few years I've been collecting charms for my charm bracelet and I have a necklace or two of theirs that I wear fairly regularly.

I've had my eye on this silver charm for a couple of years:

I want to get it in memory of our babies that we never got to meet on earth.

Here's where you come in. I was thinking of getting something engraved on the back but I have no idea what. It seems like an overwhelming decision for me. Of course there's always the option of skipping the engraving and just having the charm and knowing in my mind and my heart what it commemorates. But if you've got suggestions I'd love to hear them. I know you know this, but just to repeat the information, we have lost six little ones between the years of 2002 and 2007 to early miscarriage. We never did name any of our babies that we lost, simply because we thought it was too hard emotionally, especially once the number of losses started growing. I don't know if the back of the charm would be large enough to list out six dates, or if that would seem too impersonal. Anyway, I figured you guys are probably far more creative than I am, so I thought I'd take some suggestions. Any ideas?

My charm bracelet currently holds other things that mean something to me. It has an S for my initial, a "little sister" charm from my sis, a cross for my faith, a book for my love of reading, a "precious aunt" charm, a wedding charm that my husband gave me for our 10th anniversary, and a few other things that reflect who I am.

But I don't feel like it's complete.

Of course you can't quite tell one's whole life story from a charm bracelet. There aren't a whole lot of charms out there to mark the hard times and the struggles that shaped you into the person you are. Should this baby be the one we'll get to bring home (and every day we feel more and more hopeful that it will be), I don't feel right about adding baby shoes or a tiny silver baby carriage until I've recognized another very important part of my journey.

My heart does remember. It remembers every positive pregnancy test, every dream and wish for a baby, every moment that we found out it wasn't to be, every tearful, sleepless night, every doctor's appointment where we felt hopeless or hopeful. My heart remembers that, even now while I walk around with an ever-growing belly, I desperately want others who may just see me as a pregnant woman to know what my story is. I didn't get here on the express train. I had to hike, on foot, up a very steep and rocky path. I felt every bump and bruise that I picked up along the way, and that has made me all the more grateful for where I am. It has nothing to do with feeling like I've earned it, but it has everything to do with simply wanting people to know that I have a story to tell.

I have to say, too, that it has made me feel kind of bad for the times that I passed someone with a protruding belly out in public and didn't even want to look their way. Seeing that was sometimes pretty painful for me, and understandably so. When you are hurting and grieving, there are some things that are really hard to face in that moment. But the truth is that I didn't know their story. I didn't know what kind of struggle they'd been through to get there. (And, by the way, I'm not at all suggesting that pregnancy should only be granted to those who have struggled. I'm very thankful that so many of my family and friends were able to have their children with no complications and few setbacks!)

Last weekend my husband and I went to a wedding here in town. (Two of his co-workers were getting married to each other.) I didn't expect to know very many people, but when we arrived, we found a few familiar faces in the room and sat at a small round table with a guy my husband knows from work. His wife was also there, as was their young daughter. I had met the guy before but had never met either of the girls. We introduced ourselves and made small talk during the reception. It wasn't long before they shared with us that they are expecting their second child. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to do at first. Typically, this would be a pretty awkward situation for me. Even with the knowledge that I was 13 weeks into what appears to be a successful pregnancy, I was afraid that it would be yet another situation where we would be bombarded with baby talk and have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation. Oh, we've been there so many times before!

But that night was different. Instead of holding back and putting my guard up, I decided to tell them where we are even though our news is still not "out there" at my husband's work. And do you know what? It turned out that they had a story, too. They had suffered loss both before and after their daughter was born, and are now expecting a son. It reminded me that everyone does have a story to tell, whether it resembles mine or not, and whether our struggle is similar or totally different. And it reminded me that sometimes when I open myself up and be honest about where I've been, it invites others to do the same. They probably wouldn't have mentioned their history with miscarriage had I not mentioned ours. I might have thought that we were totally different when, in fact, we had quite a few things in common.

Just as her heart remembers her babies and her story, my heart remembers mine.


Just an update for you:
Our first OB appointment is scheduled for Monday afternoon. We're almost there! Feeling nervous, but hopeful. I'll be 14 weeks tomorrow -- have officially entered the second trimester! As always, I'm so thankful for all of your prayers!

Please leave any suggestions for what you think would be a good engraving for the charm in the comments. Thanks!


belle said...

followed you here from missing juanito!

how precious is this post....

i do not know how expensive these charms are so this idea might just be tossed out up front:) BUT have you considered a charm for each of them with each date on the back?

what about seeing if they can engrave 6 hearts on the back? or just the number 6 in beautiful script?

i have 4 babies that have gone home too soon and i often struggle for ways to remember each one of them too.

hugs to you.

my heart remembers too-

Mrs. Spit said...

I have one for gabe, it's a bracelet.

It says

You could do something like:

The Ramirez Family said...

Belle and I think alike.... I was thinking 6 little hearts interlinked representing 6 lives joined together by love.

Just a thought

Michelle said...

I struggle with this too because I have 4 and I never named them either for the same reason. I probably would get the "My precious angels" and the dates but I am not sure if all that would fit... I love that charm!

Jenn said...

I have been checking your blog so often because I miss reading your posts! I was very excited to see this one after checking about 5 times today...haha! And what a beautiful post it was. I really enjoyed this one.

I'm not a very creative person so no suggestions immediately popped in my head. I really, really like Belle's suggestions of the "6" and even the individual charms were a great idea. But like she said, not sure about the cost and also, would depend on the room you had on your bracelet.

Oh, as I'm typing this, I was just husband loves numbers and has studied their biblical meaning and do you know what just came to me??? #7 is God's number;it's perfection. This is baby #7. Isn't that so awesome???!!! WOW, that just speaks alot to me!

You could even incorporate ALL of your children on one charm?? Maybe something like "Love to all our babies" But then again, maybe you would want a "special" one for this special little one that is on HER way :)

Love you!!!!!!

TRS said...

My first thought is something like... "remembering your hearts, whether beating or still" I don't know if that will fit - but maybe it helps set you on the path to the right thing.

Stacey, My friend Kikr went in for her first OB appointment this week - and there was no heartbeat. She's devastated. She only left me a message, saying she wasn't ready to talk about it. My heart breaks for her. I know you will hold her up in prayer.

In Christ,

Anonymous said...

I love the idea Belle had of 6 hearts. Simple. You might want to do the 6 dates but the dates I was thinking was not the ending dates but the dates you found out you were pregnant-maybe more positive than the other....

Anonymous said...

14 weeks is amazing! Congrats! :)
I can't think of what to put, either. What can capture such an enormous loss? I love the charm. And I do love me some James Avery, too! Our wedding rings are JA.

Becky said...

Yay for reaching the second trimester!!! I will be praying for your appointment on Monday.

I know you and Chuck planted a tree to remember your babies, so what about a tree, maybe with six branches. I was thinking that way if you ever have to move, you will have the reminder of the tree you all planted in remembrance of your precious little ones.

Andrea said...

Your necklace inscription could read: Your wings surround my heart, followed by the number 6. Or, 6 Beautiful Blessings.

You are right, you NEVER know someones story. I try to remember that on the days that I "think" everyones journey has been not true. Just sooo happy that you are doing well, as your story makes my heart smile.

HUGS and thank you for the inspiration that you pass along to are a sweet friend.


Andrea said...

Oh another thought...
You could do angel wings and the number 6 with a heart.

Katie said...

All of the quotes I really like for this type of thing are probably too long for a charm.

For me, my "mantra" if you will during our infertility journey was BELIEVE. It meant so much to me. I continued to BELIEVE that I would somehow become a mother, and I continue to BELIEVE that I will see all of my sweet angels someday. So, I have a bracelet with BELIEVE engraved in it. Just that one word encompasses so much. Perhaps you have a word or a few words that does/do the same for you?

14 weeks is amazing! Welcome to the second trimester!

Stacey said...

Thanks so much for these great suggestions already! We had considered doing something with the number 6 or six hearts or something like that. I'm getting lots of good ideas here. Thank you, friends!

Connie said...

OOOO!!! I LOVE the tree with branches idea. That is so you and Chuck! That one gets my vote. Love you, Stace. Can't help but think of my nieces/nephews today and can't wait to love on this one. XOXO

Stacey said...

And TRS, I'm definitely praying for your friend. I'm truly sorry to hear that.

Noelle said...

What an absolutely beautiful post. You are so right about looking away when seeing a pregnant belly, but not knowing their story. I used to want to glare at pregnant women. I tried to remind myself that I didn't know their story, but it was so hard. Most of the time I wasn't successful.

I have had one loss. It killed me. I cannot imagine all that you have been through. I am still healing from it and I hope that one day I can say that I am healed. I don't know, though.

I bought a necklace which has a charm in the shape of a ring. In the middle of the ring, there is the stone from the month that the baby was conceived. (I wanted to remember a happy time). I got the charm engraved, and on one side it says, "We will always love you." On the other side it says, "I will trust in God."

I just thought about two things that really stood out to me. I wanted to also show God that I trusted Him, and I wanted a visual reminder of that.

I can't wait to see what you do.

Life In Mazes said...

still praying for you and everytime I see the steamboat bill's sign I think of you! I don't have a lot of suggestions for the charm, but I know your heart will lead you to make the right decision!

Joy said...

Love all the suggestions! Now I want the charm. I'm collecting charms for my bracelet too. Very neat!

You could always engrave "My Angel Babies" or I love the tree and heart idea! You could do the tree branches with 6 hearts dangling off the branches.

Jo said...

Hi Stacey I am not sure what you could post on your heart charm I am sorry, but I wanted to say I love the idea and have been looking for something to remember my own lost baby and that idea sounds lovely. Thanks for mentioning it. Also I wanted to say that my heart remembers not only my little one that I never got to meet, but it also remembers your heart too and shares your grief as well as rejoicing with you in your happiness. Lots of love to you from across the world xoxoxo

Amy said...

Personally, I like the idea that Katie had about one word that has ministered to you through those times. Maybe "Believe" or "Hope". I like "His Love Endures" or a bible verse that you clung to. I just read a quote that said, "While we breathe, we hope." That would be pretty with the number 6 underneath.

Whatever you choose, it will be beautiful. I am always trying to think of a way to remember my two (some friends who had also had two kicked around the idea of small tatoos, but I think we are all chicken!). Love your charm, Stacey!

Kate said...

I think you have a lot of beautiful ideas here for the charms, and I don't think I can improve on any of them! I wanted to say thanks, though, for reminding us to tell our stories. It's easy not to want to talk about it. Congratulations on the OB appointment and the 14-week mark. What a blessing! Praying for you.

twondra said...

I'm so happy you're doing so well with this pregnancy. :)

I love the charm! It's beautiful! I don't have any real good ideas, but love the ideas of the 6 hearts. Someone did that for me with the 4 hearts in the sand and I really cherish that picture.

I think anything you do is perfect. :)

Sharon said...

Stacy, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.
The charm is a beautiful idea and I also like the heart suggestion.

DeniFay said...

14 weeks!!! Yeaaa! I'm so happy to hear that! Can't wait to hear about your appointment.

I love a lot of the suggestions, but I love the angel wings one the most, but that's because I wear two angel wings everyday with a round charm that has my babies' monogram on it LTM, for both of them. I feel naked without it!

I know you'll decide the perfect thing, and I love the idea!

Nikki said...

We met a long time ago at a football game in Houston (LTU v. Rice) and I've been quietly lurking and praying for y'all. All that to say you may not remember me...

I had a charm bracelet for my losses and, while it may seem cliche, the old saying, "Gone but not forgotten" was on the back. Simple and to the point.

I'm so thrilled for y'all!


Rebekah said...

I like the suggestions for the 6 wings but I also thought if you have a verse that's meant a lot to you that might be one idea.

Indy said...

I like the idea of putting a bible verse on the back of the charm. The one verse that carried you through the loss and that when asked about it you could share. You are right about sharing your never know whose been through what and whose faith you can strengthen by being transparent (this is what we talked about last night in our Esther bible study) =)

My life verse is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5.